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SHARK will unlock the potential for laser texturing for the generation of functional surfaces by boosting the productivity, efficiency and flexibility of the process. This will provide the European industry with a highly robust, cost effective and environmentally friendly system that is capable of producing a broad range of functional surfaces at industrial scale throughputs, and place Europe in an unassailable lead in this key area of manufacturing.

SHARK will advance laser surface texturing from the current ‘trial and error’, lab-scale concept into a highly predictable, data driven industrial approach by developing a digitally enabled knowledge management platform with a comprehensive database of process parameters and functionalities. SHARK system will be configured as an Open-platform independent of the laser source manufacturers, which for long, has been one of the main limitations for the process. SHARK’s system will be underpinned by a number of technology advances. Two laser surface texturing technologies will be developed, both based upon nanosecond fibre lasers. Pseudo Random laser texturing and Direct Laser Interference Patterning will be employed, offering complementary techniques to yield a highly flexible tool capable of delivering wide range of functional surfaces with exceptional productivity and excellent process efficiency. The project will develop surface texture predictive modelling to rapidly define key process variables required for specific surface functionalities. This will be combined with inline surface characterisation to enable rapid feedback and inbuilt quality assurance.

The project will deliver the following benefits:

• The capability to deliver surface functionalities into real products for less than 10% of the cost of the conventional part.
• Greater than 20% improvement in product performance based on the surface functionalities deployed.
• Accelerated product development.
• Strengthened global position of European manufacturing.